- Honda-powered Formula F racers sweep podium, top eight positions
- Honda, Acura drivers also claim titles in STU, STL and H Production
- Six additional Honda, Acura podium results complete successful “Runoffs”
Honda and Acura racers won four Sports Car Club of America national titles, including a third consecutive Formula F title, in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
A total of 48 Honda and Acura racers, one of the largest fields since the start of the Honda Racing Line in 2009, traveled to the classic Laguna Seca road course in central California October 7-12 for this year’s 51st annual national championship “Runoffs”, taking part in 10 of the 27 classes.
Nineteen drivers in the 26-car Formula F field utilized the HPD L15A7 engine at Laguna Seca, the largest Honda-powered contingent since the engine was approved for the category in 2009. Jeremy Grenier scored Honda’s third-consecutive victory in the class, leading a 1-2-3 Honda sweep in Formula F. Chuck Horn finished second and Ethan Shippert rounded out the podium as Honda-powered drivers claimed the top eight finishing positions.
In STU, Honda drivers posted a 1-2 finish with Andrie Hartanto taking his Honda S2000 to a five-second victory over the similar car of Rylan Hazelton. Honda and Acura drivers claimed four of the top six finishing positions with Bruce Trenery fifth in his Acura RSX and Will Clark sixth in his Honda S2000.
“It feels incredible,” Hartanto said after winning the Runoffs in his first attempt. “I had high hopes. We did a lot of preparations and tried everything. The race was amazing. We were on the back step for the first two days chasing Rylan [Hazleton]. We had to ask our friends to come with alignment equipment on the second day to make sure we could catch him. We laid down a pretty good lap and got the pole and that set the tone. I’m really happy.”
The Acura Integra of Cliff Ira proved to be both fast and sturdy, claiming the victory in STL despite smoking heavily in the final two laps due to an apparent oil leak. Qualifying on the pole, Ira fell to third in the early laps in cool, damp conditions. But as the track warmed and his tires came up to temperature, Ira regained the lead on Lap 16 and began to pull away, until smoke began to billow from the rear of the Integra. But no fluids were being dropped, and Ira’s Acura completed the 20-lap contest without missing a beat for his first national championship.
“There was enough oil to make oil pressure,” Ira said. “That’s all I needed. I had my brother, Greg, on the radio, and he just told me to watch my gauges. He asked me if I was losing power, and I wasn’t, so I just stayed in it, and it had [oil] pressure to the end. This is a really close class. They created this STL class, and I’m an IT racer. This is truly a dream come true.”
The fourth Honda championship of the weekend came in H Production, where Lawrence Loshak won his fifth Runoffs championship – and third with Honda after winning E Production in 2006 and repeating his H Production title from 2013.
Loshak took the early lead after starting on the pole in his Honda CRX, a car built and prepared this year after Loshak sold his 2013 championship-winning Honda. However, the Toyota of Jason Isley stayed close and was even able to record one lap as the official leader. Entering the final three laps, Isley closed up to the rear bumper of Loshak, but could not complete a final pass. Driving Loshak’s championship-winning Honda CRX from 2013, Steven Hussey returned from an 11-year “retirement” to finish third.
“I was doing everything I could to stay ahead of Jason [Isley],” Loshak said. “It was a little crazy. Toward the end, my rear tires weren’t happy with me, and then my front tires joined the party. Jason was right there to apply the pressure and all I could think is ‘Don’t make a mistake, don’t make a mistake. Oh, I almost made a mistake.’ I just tried to hang it out there. It’s not fun just to qualify [on the pole], and then walk away from everyone else. It’s all about racing door-to-door with the best drivers in the country.”
Video News Releases from this weekend’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs can be found on the “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group. CPG provided video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events throughout the 2014 season. The videos can be found at: youtube.com/hondaracingtrackside.
Honda Performance Development [HPD], through the Honda Racing Line, offered contingency awards of up to $2,500, along with additional support to help offset travel costs for the racers. HPD also hosted catered, trackside hospitality exclusively for Honda/Acura competitors and their team members, providing an infield paddock tent where competitors could prepare and maintain their cars, and buffet lunches from October 7-11.
Founded in 1993, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines, and operates at race circuits around the world from its headquarters in Santa Clarita, California. HPD offers a line of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; and showcases “fun” products for professional, amateur and entry-level efforts.
Launched in 2009, the Honda Racing Line is a program targeted at licensed participants in sanctioned amateur and entry-level professional racing. The Honda Racing Line was formed to provide its members with a direct connection to Honda Performance Development and its unparalleled record of success at the highest levels of motorsport.
For more information about HPD and to register for the Honda Racing Line, please visit http://hpd.honda.com.
2014 Honda/Acura SCCA National Championship Runoffs Victories and Podiums: